I remember the trailers for Transformers first coming out. I resisted the idea of going to it, mainly because I hadn’t been a huge fan of Transformers as a kid and the trailers weren’t particularly compelling to me.
Fast forward 6 months and I was on a plane from London to Los Angeles with limited entertainment options. Each seat had its own TV, and after I’d watched The Simpsons Movie and a few episodes of The Office, I was still starting at another 5 hours until we landed. Fine, I’ll give Transformers a shot.
Maybe it was the altitude, maybe it was my lack of sleep during the previous 3 weeks in Europe (jetlag is no joke) but I actually found myself enjoying the movie. Shia LeBeouf was a solid lead (remember this was 4 years ago, so the whole bumbling nerd act was still working for him) and Megan Fox was, well, Megan Fox.
This is a long movie. At 2 hours and 24 minutes its much longer than any comic book/cartoon adaptation should be, but there are enough explosions and car chases and action sequences to keep things moving along (wait a minute…explosions and car chases and beautiful women? Who directed this movie?…Michael Bay? You’re kidding me…what a change of pace for him).
I think the reason that the movie works is that it jumps between the stories of several different groups of characters, and begins weaving them together as the movie progresses. This helps the audience to stay engaged and avoids wearing them out on any particular character. There was also a good dose of humor, which always helps with a movie like this (there’s nothing worse than when they take themselves way too seriously).
Like most people, I wasn’t a huge fan of the shameless product placement in the movie (a Pontiac Solstice? Really? They were the highest bidder for naming rights? Wait, does Pontiac even exist anymore?), and I also thought that John Turturro’s Government Agent character was a little bit too cartoon-ish, but overall I thought that this movie did a solid job of appealing to a large group of people.
The two subsequent sequels may have both made more money, but this is the best of the bunch.
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